In today’s show, we’ll talk about a common question: “What is the best online curriculum?” Next, we’ll talk about types of curricula, and finally we’ll talk about the Pandia Press’s Ancient History, Level 2 curriculum, and why we won’t use it.
We chat about parents moving to homeschooling. They want all online curriculum and there are definite problems with most online curricula.
How to choose curricula???
Don’t get wrapped up in pedagogy. When you start wading into homeschool curricula you are going to be affronted (accosted?) with so many kinds of methods. Put that aside for now. Think: one room schoolhouse. If you continue homeschooling after this is all over you can tweak a basic 3R routine into whatever flavor of homeschooling you desire. Remember that we are all in emergency mode. I was looking at Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs this morning and although we are accepting this new normal- none of this is the old normal and kids know that too.
For all ages you need Math, Science, History (social studies in school is history and geography), Reading and Grammar. Start with Math and reading and do a placement test test like DORA (let’s go learn?) Start your child where she is is even if the grade level is nowhere near their age group. You need to fill in whatever gaps she has. I’m going to try and not mention any specific curriculum here, but I’m happy to help over on our facebook group or by email. For history, most kids in public schools haven’t had any substance so I’d start with the ancients no matter what the grade level. Make a timeline and match your reading to the history and science. None of this is actually my idea by the way- it’s all courtesy of learning about education from classical educators like Susan Wise Bauer. In grade school I’m a huge proponent of interest led science so I’d choose something your kid wants to learn about and save more formal science progression for high school- although in the 4th edition of the WTM even SWB has changed her stance and said you can switch up the order even in high school.
A great online store for all things homeschooling is The Rainbow Resource Center. You can search and more than likely they will have several homeschool programs with unique long descriptions. They do include religious curricula, but it is all marked. You may find that you are willing to tweak some religion out if it is an otherwise perfect fit for your student. They also have excellent pricing.
Look at all the sample pages you can before hitting that purchase button. It’s tempting to take too much on when you first begin learning at home. Concentrate on the minimum this year and leave some time for projects. I think we’ll talk about scheduling another episode.
*The Story of Mankind: Due to the polarizing nature of The Story of Mankind by Hendrick Van Loon, it is optional reading in this level two course. It should be considered a possible resource for gathering information. If students choose not to read TSOM, they might need to seek out other resources on the Internet or at a library in order to complete some of the lessons. We copied some lines out of Van Loon in yellow and Wikipedia in blue:
AHMED, THE CAMEL-DRIVER, WHO BECAME THE PROPHET OF THE ARABIAN DESERT
In the seventh century, however, another Semitic tribe appeared upon the scene and challenged the power of the west. They were the Arabs, peaceful shepherds who had roamed through the desert since the beginning of time without showing any signs of imperial ambitions.
–Story of Mankind
The Nabataeans, an Arab people, formed their Kingdom near Petra in the 3rd century BC. Arab tribes, most notably the Ghassanids and Lakhmids, begin to appear in the southern Syrian Desert from the mid 3rd century CE onward, during the mid to later stages of the Roman and Sasanian empires.— wikipedia
Then they listened to Mohammed, mounted their horses and in less than a century they had pushed to the heart of Europe and proclaimed the glories of Allah, “the only God,” and Mohammed, “the prophet of the only God,” to the frightened peasants of France.
The Umayyads continued the Muslim conquests, incorporating the … Iberian Peninsula (Al-Andalus) into the Muslim world. At its greatest extent, the Umayyad Caliphate covered 6,000,000 sq mi and 62 million people, making it one of the largest empires in history in both area and proportion of the world’s population. Survivors of the dynasty established themselves in Cordoba which, in the form of an Emirate and then a Caliphate, became a world centre of science, medicine, philosophy and invention, ushering in the period of the Golden Age of Islam.
The Umayyad caliphate ruled over a vast multiethnic and multicultural population. Christians, who still constituted a majority of the Caliphate’s population, and Jews were allowed to practice their own religion but had to pay a head tax (the jizya) from which Muslims were exempt. There was, however, the Muslim-only zakat tax, which was earmarked explicitly for various welfare programmes
The story of Ahmed, the son of Abdallah and Aminah (usually known as Mohammed, or “he who will be praised,”); reads like a chapter in the “Thousand and One Nights.” He was a camel-driver, born in Mecca.
Born approximately 570 CE (Year of the Elephant) in the Arabian city of Mecca, Muhammad was orphaned at the age of six. He was raised under the care of his paternal grandfather Abd al-Muttalib, and upon his death, by his uncle Abu Talib.
In his teens, Muhammad accompanied his uncle on Syrian trading journeys to gain experience in commercial trade.
Muhammad began to pray alone in a cave near Mecca … Islamic tradition holds that during one of his visits to that cave, in the year 610 the angel Gabriel appeared to him and commanded Muhammad to recite verses that would be included in the Quran.
and he was constantly falling in with Jewish merchants and with Christian traders, and he came to see that the worship of a single God was a very excellent thing.
His own people, the Arabs, still revered queer stones and trunks of trees as their ancestors had done, tens of thousands of years before. In Mecca, their holy city, stood a little square building, the Kaaba, full of idols and strange odds and ends of Hoo-doo worship.
In pre-Islamic Arabia, gods or goddesses were viewed as protectors of individual tribes, their spirits being associated with sacred trees, stones, springs and wells. As well as being the site of an annual pilgrimage, the Kaaba shrine in Mecca housed 360 idols of tribal patron deities. Three goddesses were revered as God’s daughters:
Mohammed decided to be the Moses of the Arab people. He could not well be a prophet and a camel-driver at the same time. So he made himself independent by marrying his employer, the rich widow Chadija.
His reputation attracted a proposal in 595 from Khadijah, a successful businesswoman. Muhammad consented to the marriage, which by all accounts was a happy one
This is a problem with many older spines, and why I’m not terribly attracted to Ambleside or very pure Charlotte Mason style curricula, which tend to use older books. The racism, sexism, and casual xenophobia are baked into the texts that are chosen.
Here is a handy dandy list of Middle Grade novels set in Ancient Times.
When I brought this up at the first Secular Eclectic Academic Homeschooler’s convention, at their booth, the response of the woman in charge of the booth was to suggest that if I didn’t like the choices, I could write something better myself. So I did.